Anger at arrest of 150 student demonstrators

More than 150 demonstrators were arrested at Tuesday's student protests after they refused to abandon their rally in Trafalgar Square. Officers again used their "kettling" tactic to detain protesters as the initially peaceful demonstration ended in a stand-off between students and police.

Around 200 people ignored repeated police requests to disperse and officers finally moved to clear the area between 8pm and 9pm.

Earlier in the day, a police "forward intelligence team" filmed protesters as they marched through London in an attempt to "gather evidence" of wrongdoing. The officers were met with chants of "we are peaceful, what are you?" from the thousands of marchers.

A police spokesman said the arrests had been made to "prevent a continuing breach of the peace" after Nelson's Column was sprayed with grafitti.

Police detained 139 people on breach of the peace grounds in Trafalgar Square and another seven were arrested for violent disorder. Having given their names and addresses, the former group were driven to surrounding train, bus and Tube stations and allowed to leave.

March organisers had originally informed police they intended to rally at Trafalgar Square at noon and proceed down Whitehall to Parliament Square two hours later. But protesters, wary that following a similar plan had culminated in their forced confinement or "kettling" last week, evaded officers and continued towards Victoria station, past Hyde Park and on towards the City, via Oxford Street.

Marchers were escorted by a small number of police and, after the procession became fragmented, some returned to Trafalgar Square, continuing their demonstration into the evening.

Officers cordoned off the square but were "actively encouraging" small groups of protesters to leave. After a fight between two demonstrators drew the crowd towards the south-west corner, police closed the nearest exit and blocked Whitehall, leading some to believe that they were being forcibly contained again.

A police spokesman said that it was the force's duty to protect the students' right to protest but added that that right needed to be balanced with the rights of others. The decision was taken to clear Trafalgar Square to "get life back to normal" after the day's protests had caused disruption across central London, the spokesman said.

The atmosphere between protesters and police was less antagonistic than at last week's protests and police have insisted that there was "no intention" to detain protesters. But suspicion remained, with students attempting to avoid what they believed to be police efforts to contain them.

After The Independent yesterday reported that officers formed lines, trying unsuccessfully to block the march off at Aldwych, near the City, a police spokesman last night again denied attempting to "kettle" protesters. The spokesman said officers were instead trying to direct marchers back towards Trafalgar Square, to "keep them all together".

Yesterday, video footage surfaced online which appeared to show a police officer punching a protester. Two short clips show officers moving in to prevent students climbing on to a stone wall. One of the officers is seen to push one protester before punching another in the face and ordering them "back". The Met Police said the videos were "being considered" but added that they were "not aware of any related complaints".

Meanwhile students who have occupied University College London for the past nine days have been told to leave or face legal action to remove them.

Further days of action are believed to be planned next week, as well as on the day of the Commons vote on fees later this month.

Police refused to discuss whether "kettling" would be used at any further protests, a spokesman saying only that the force will employ "a flexible policing plan to be adapted to fit the circumstances on the ground".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy